Things To Do
Church Retreats and
Military Thank You
Places to Eat
Things To Bring
Historical markers commemorate Surfside Beach’s important role in Texas history.
Spanish survivors of Navárez Expedition land here, 1528
A Spanish expedition party looking for Montezuma’s gold was dying of thirst when they noticed a current of muddy, but drinkable water flowing into the Gulf. They called it Los Brazos dé Dios, the Arms of God. Today we call it the Brazos River.
Stephen F. Austin lands here with his first colonists, 1821
Site becomes known as Old Velasco. The name Surfside Beach is adopted 167 years later.
More than 25,000 colonists entered Texas through this port from the beginning of Stephen F. Austin’s first colony in 1821 to Texas winning its independence from Mexico in 1836.
Battle of Velasco, June 26, 1832
The first battle of Texas’ war for independence was fought here.
Texan forces were stopped by Mexican troops as they attempted to move cannon up the Brazos River to reinforce fellow colonists in Anahuac.
That night, 112 Texians attacked the fort at Velasco and after nine hours the Mexican garrison was forced to surrender. Unknowingly, this precursor battle to Texas’ eventual war for independence was fought after the dispute at Anahuac had been peacefully settled.
Republic of Texas capital temporarily moved to Velasco and
Santa Anna signs treaties granting Texas its independence, 1836
After the victory at San Jacinto, Velasco was made the temporary capital of the Republic of Texas. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was brought here where he signed the Treaties of Velasco. These treaties ended the hostilities between Texas and Mexico and granted Texas its independence on May 14. 1836.
After the Texas Revolution, Velasco served as a
summer resort for wealthy plantation families
The town site from which Surfside Beach evolved was a popular resort area in the 1800’s. The Grand Surfside Hotel survived the hurricanes of 1875 and 1900 but was later destroyed by fire. In 1975 the Village of Surfside was incorporated; and, was renamed Surfside Beach in 1988.
Port played a vital part during the Civil War
During the Civil War the port of Velasco was fortified by Confederate troops and eight gun batteries. This allowed it to protect the rich area farmlands and prevented Federal invasion.
Union ships were prevented from landing and were forced to go to New Orleans for drinking water, food, and fuel.
The port provided shelter and landing facilities for blockade runners. These runners played an active role in the exchange of southern cotton for European guns, ammunition, milled goods, and medical supplies.
Mouth of Brazos River moved, 1929
Prior to the 1930’s, the beach at Surfside was accreting. The Brazos River brought so much silt (which becomes sand) to the coast that rather than eroding, Surfside Beach was becoming wider. Unfortunately, this accumulating sand was clogging the Port of Freeport and the new Intracoastal Canal. The Corps of Engineers corrected this problem of “too much sand” by damning the river before it reached Surfside Beach and rerouting the Brazos River so it dumped its beach restoring silt six miles down the coast.
The clogging problems at Freeport and the Intracoastal Canal were corrected. But, Surfside Beach has been starved for sand ever since.
Interesting side trip – Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historical Park
Varner-Hogg Plantation Manor
In 1824, Martin Varner, one of Stephen F. Austin’s original colonists started his sprawling plantation on the Brazos River. Governor James Hogg purchased it in 1901, and his daughter Ima Hogg donated the property to the State of Texas in 1958.
Majestic antebellum home with many Hogg family heirlooms, period furniture and historic documents
For more information, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/varner or call 979-345-4556
Interesting site on the way to Surfside –
Stephen F. Austin Statue
| (Click on pictures of statue to enlarge)
A 72-foot tall cement likeness of Stephen F. Austin, the father of Texas, stands on the east side of Highway 288, midway between Highway 35 and the north edge of Lake Jackson. The huge sculpture was designed by sculptor David Adickes who also designed the 67-foot tall statue of Sam Houston near Huntsville, Texas.
If you have any questions about vacationing at Surfside Beach,
or if you would like to reserve one of our houses,
please call us at 713-995-6111, or go to Contact Us.
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